Section 2: Responsibilities of Boards of Trustees and principals
2.1 Boards of Trustees
National Administration Guideline 5 requires Boards of Trustees to provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students and staff to work in. Part of this is Boards of Trustees’ compliance with current legislation relating to the health and safety of students and staff when involved in technology education.
The Board will monitor the effectiveness of the school’s health and safety policy and procedures as part of its regular review cycle. The Board should maintain an overview of health and safety within their school through regular reports from the principal, covering any health and safety issues that require a governance level decision.
Boards of Trustees must ensure that all buildings, including alterations to specialist technology rooms, comply with the following:
- the Building Act 2004 and Building Regulations
- the New Zealand Building Code documents on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website
- the Resource Management Act 1991 and district plans
- the Fire Service Act 1975
- Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006.
The principal’s role in supporting the Board of Trustees to ensure the health and safety of the school community involves implementing and managing the Board-approved health and safety policy and procedures. Principals are advised to require middle leaders to communicate monthly to the principal or to the health and safety coordinator/ committee on health and safety related to technology education at all levels of the curriculum. These reports should include descriptions of:
- any accidents or injuries and subsequent investigations and outcomes
- identified hazards, and actions undertaken to mitigate them
- any technology-related health and safety trends.
The use of equipment, machinery, and materials has the potential to expose students and teachers to risks or hazards that must be clearly identified. The principal should, therefore, include a technology section in their monthly report to the Board. The report may be written by individual teachers or by a school-appointed health and safety coordinator. If a school has a health and safety committee, one member should be a specialist technology teacher.
If a principal appoints a health and safety coordinator, this person will be responsible for preparing the annual health and safety plan. The health and safety coordinator will also be expected to:
a. manage the approved health and safety plan
b. maintain, update, and implement health and safety procedures
c. take responsibility for collecting and collating information to inform regular health and safety in technology reports to the principal and the Board of Trustees.
If a relieving teacher of a technology class in a specialist room is not qualified in technology education or trained in the health and safety procedures necessary for a specialist room, they should not teach the class in a specialist technology room.
All new technology staff should be provided with access to this manual and with professional development directly related to it.
Safety documentation, including report forms, are available on the Ministry of Education website.
All staff (teachers, teacher aides, and technicians) and students must be made aware of the safety aspects for all technology courses, programmes, and units, including working in unobservable areas. Health and safety checks include, but are not limited to, those presented in Appendix 1.
Working in unobservable areas
Teachers and their students should not work in spaces where they cannot be observed. Boards of Trustees and principals need to make spaces observable so that students and teachers are not vulnerable. Video surveillance may be considered for areas that cannot be made physically observable.
Implications of trades academies in schools
Some schools have established trades academies and/or are using a tertiary provider to deliver all or part of a technology related programme. This approach often requires students to use machinery (and materials) that would not typically be used in school technology classrooms – particularly when students are assessed against industry unit standards that require them to use machinery identified as adult-only equipment (see Appendix 5). When this occurs, Boards of Trustees should work with the tertiary provider to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that sets out procedures to ensure the health and safety of students. Schools can obtain an example of an MOU from the Competenz website.
The Ministry of Education web page Students on Work Experiences Legislation provides guidance on procedures that schools are required to follow when students attend a workplace (including a tertiary provider) to undertake work-based learning or work experience.